A widow will receive workers compensation benefits after her late husband passed away while running on a treadmill, browsing his work email, and watching TV to monitor financial markets, also for work. Gregory Sullwold was an employee at The Salvation Army at the time of his death. The Salvation Army did not want to honor his widow’s workers compensation claim, and even went as far as to appeal the courts’ initial decision.

How Sullwold Won Her Case

“Under state law, she was required to demonstrate both that his death occurred in the course of the employment and arose out of the employment,” a Jan. 22 Portland Press Herald article reports. Sullwold, along with workers compensation attorneys, rose to the challenge. The Salvation Army set up her late husband’s home office, equipping the space and Sullwold with a company computer and Blackberry. By sanctioning the office, the company ultimately made it easier for Sullwold to prove that her husband was, in fact, working from home. Sullwold went into cardiac arrest with his company email open and work-related TV programming playing in the background; with these things in mind, it was not difficult for workers compensation attorneys to demonstrate that Sullwold was hurt at work and ultimately died from his injuries (in this case, a heart attack). His wife won the claim, and courts denied the company’s subsequent appeal.

What Does This Mean To You?

Employment is becoming an increasingly flexible and muddled term. More Americans are working from home and/or freelancing than ever before, and that can make cases — like Sullwold’s — somewhat complicated. Sullwold’s case proves one very important thing: Just because you are working from home does not mean that you do not have rights as an employee. Depending on the circumstances, you may be compensated for weekly wages, medical expenses, and overall economic loss. As in Sullwold’s case, a spouse may be eligible for benefits, should their partner die in the course of employment.

Workers compensation can be tricky. Just because you are working from home part-time or full-time does not necessarily exclude you from important benefits. If you are hurt while on the job, please give our offices a call at 602.234.3700. Working closely with a competent workers compensation lawyer, such as Robert Wisniewski  can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.